A Cinema in your Very Own Home
With the myriad of TV options from Netflix to cable to Blu-ray, more people are opting to stay home than go to the movies these days. The concept of home theatre cinema is now more prevalent than ever. For cinephiles looking to take the home cinema experience to the next level, factors from the acoustics, the physical space and seats, down to lighting make a huge difference.
Key to the home theatre experience is the quality and size of the viewing screen. The question begs – which is the best option for your home, TV or a home projector, and what are the factors to consider?
Which is Best – TV or Home Projector?
To get the maximum out of the huge variety of available programming, there are fundamentally two hardware choices – A flat screen TV or projector. Both options offer screen sizes that dwarf the typical flickering 27-inch CRT sets of the early TV age. A huge screen, accompanied by a sophisticated stereo sound system, fully justifies the name of “home theatre.”
Key factors that will influence the choice include image quality, flexibility, ease of set-up and maintenance, and of course the total cost of ownership.
The first consideration will be size. Of course this will be mainly determined by the available space in the user’s home, but it’s likely that you’ll be going for the largest set-up the room will allow. This means taking into account your room configuration. You will need to consider the throw distance, and the projector features that will give you placement flexibility. You’ll also want to see how your set-up can make the optimum use of otherwise dead space in your room.
Let’s now consider the overall visual impression you’re seeking.
Homeowners looking to replicate a movie-going experience may be looking for a large screen size of close to 100 inches or even more. A projector can deliver the large screen cinematic experience at a fraction of the price of a flat screen TV. Compared to a similarly sized flat screen TV, projectors deliver the most cost-effective per inch of picture.
For example, the Epson EH-LS10500 home projector is able to project enhanced 4K and HDR content at a screen size of 30 to 300 inches. A similarly sized TV screen can cost many times in price. Currently, the costs for a TV screen size that goes beyond 75 inches becomes astronomical.
Installation and Fitting into your Home
The issue of installation of projector can be a cause of concern for homeowners, who may be concerned about the aesthetics of having a mounted projector in their room, not to mention the frightening thought of drilling the ceiling for installation as well as the costs involved in engaging a contractor to install a mounted projector.
Users may want to take into the consideration Epson’s EH-LS100 laser home projector – The world’s first ultra short throw 3LCD laser projector, the projector is able to project at extremely close distances to a wall without the need for mounting on the ceiling.
For instance, it is able to project screen sizes of 100 inches from a placement of just 26cm away from the wall, overcoming the issues of distance and space usually associated with home projection systems. And it can be positioned in the same place and angle as any conventional entertainment device. This means the projector can be easily placed on a TV console next to the wall, without need for complication installation, and can blend seamlessly with the room décor.
Brightness, Contrast and Resolution
A key factor is how well the projector can overcome ambient light. A home theatre will typically be designed to recreate the dark ambience of the traditional cinema, but for more casual viewing in a family room, for example, the projector must be able to display rich cinematic content despite brighter ambient light, as well as project large images without degradation.
Brightness, of 2,000 lumens or more, is not the only factor affecting the perceived image. Contrast ratio – the difference between light and dark on a screen expressed by a number – is also critical. A high contrast ratio means the projected image will have incredibly rich, crystal-clear detail. Contrast is especially important for our home entertainment environment.
As well as brightness and contrast, image quality is affected by resolution. This is the number of pixels used to display the image. The standard format for home theatre use is 1080p (1920×1080 pixels, 16:9 aspect ratio), which delivers a clean, crisp image and matches the HDTV broadcast and Blu-ray formats.
Resolution is also dependent on the type of content viewed. For home viewers watching online streaming content or Netflix, a full HD (1080p) display is more than adequate to deliver a clean and crisp image.
Cost of Maintenance
An important factor for users is ease and cost of maintenance for a projector. With a laser projector, there is no need to replace the projector lamp. Epson’s EH-LS100 laser projector is able to deliver 20,000 hours of viewing without need for maintenance and lamp replacement – this translates to more than 12 years of usage, at an average usage of about 4 hours a day. This can be attributed to its innovative proprietary laser light source technology.
Additionally, with its laser technology, the projector brings instant on/ off performance – there is no need to wait for warm up or cool down, ensuring immediate projections.
Connectivity and Ease of Setup
The projector should be able to display data, video, photos and games. A dedicated business projector will be best for showing PowerPoint slides and PDFs, but a good home projector should be able to handle these tasks if the user’s set-up is a home office as well as a family entertainment centre. A projector that handles video well will also be good with photos.
Connectivity via HDMI, supporting video resolutions of 1080p, is essential. HDMI 1.4a enables projection from a Bluray player, set-top box and even a computer. Look out too for built-in Wi-Fi, allowing for content to be projected without a cable.
Check whether the model that interests you offers vertical and horizontal image correction – this will allow you to quickly re-align a skewed screen image, key if you’re setting up in a hurry.
Getting all these considerations right will ensure you’ll be able to sit back and enjoy hours of trouble-free home entertainment from your projector system.
Leading the Way
With the advances in technology, home viewers now have the choice to have their cake and eat it –they can now enjoy large projection screens at an affordable price point, without having to be concerned about maintenance.
A large screen cinema in your own home is a pretty amazing concept – and when you add in the ability to enjoy video games with your family, share photos and even run business applications, you’re looking at a technology that is not only desirable, but truly transformative.